Story of a print of New Plymouth that appeared in the British Parliamentary Papers

Gully, John 1819-1888 :New Plymouth, New Zealand. [London] Day & Son [1860].
Ref: B-051-015. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
This rare print is the only New Zealand view to appear in a British Parliamentary paper in the period up to 1875 (the period covered by Ellis "Early Prints of New Zealand").  It was re-printed by Avon Fine Prints in the 1960s and the original watercolour that the print is based on by painter John Gully is in the National Archives.

The print accompanied a despatch from Governor Gore Browne dated 13 March 1860 and appears in Command paper 2798, 1861: "Papers relating to the recent disturbance in New Zealand."

The description of New Plymouth which accompanies the view is not particularly complimentary about the new settlement.

"The town consists of a struggling village on a skirt of flat land, which is enclosed and commanded by a higher table land encircling the town in the form of a crescent. One end of this crescent is Marsland  Hill, on which the barrack stands, and on the other extreme we are about to erect a stockade. The intervening space between the barrack and this block-house is about three quarters of a mile, but the ground is broken by ravines and swamps and covered with fern, so that what is delineated in the New Zealand Company's plan as squares and streets is in reality wild land, much tormented, and well adapted to cover and conceal the approach of an enemy. Isolated cottages dotted about at intervals, the town being confined to little more than a single street on the shore.

The inland country generally is covered with high fern and dense forest, some of which is almost impenetrable to Europeans, and is everywhere broken by ravines and streams which are thrown off Mount Egmont [Taranaki]. There is a native pah in New Plymouth . . . and there are numerous pahs in every direction . . . 

The proposed blockhouses, which look so imposing in the sketch, may be described as wooden guard-houses, large enough to contain twenty men each. They are not yet constructed."

The view was redrawn for Sir James Alexander's Incidents of the Maori War, 1863

Mr John Gully
The Nelson Provincial Museum, Davis Collection: 1138
John Gully was a major New Zealand artist - according to Una Platts "Nineteenth Century NZ Artists" probably the most popular of his time.  Gully was born in Bath, England. He was apprenticed to an iron foundry and graduated next to the designing and drafting department. However this did not satisfy the young Gully's ambition and he spent periods as clerk in a savings bank and worked in his father's business. Gully took private lessons in painting during this time. In 1852 he and his wife and children emigrated on the John Phillips to New Plymouth.

In 1858 "J.G. of Omata" was advertising ready to paint "views" of properties for sending overseas. He farmed at Omata and worked as a clerk in New Plymouth. Gully took part as a volunteer in the Taranaki wars but was invalided out of the Army. In 1860 Gully and his family moved to Nelson where he settled permanently.  Gully was Drawing Master at Nelson College, then draughtsman in the Lands & Survey Office.

In 1863 two of his paintings, one a wreck of the Lord Worsley, one a view of Mount Egmont were advertised for sale. The encouragement given him by von Haast, whose "outlines" of mountains he coloured, and by the painter J. C. Richmond, then Commissioner of Crown Lands, was probably the turning point of his career. Richmond went on painting expeditions with him and used all his influence to make Gully's work known. In 1865 Richmond enlisted the help of his brother, C. W. Richmond, then a judge in Dunedin, to get his own and Gully's work to the NZ Exhibition and to see that people knew that Gully was ready to paint professionally.

By 1870 Gully was probably the most popular painter in the New Zealand. He exhibited watercolours at the Intercolonial Ex Melbourne 1866-67. In 1878 retired from the Lands & Survey Office and began to spend his full time painting and was listed as a Nelson artist in Wise's directory.  John Gully nearly always in watercolour and was greatly praised for his ''atmospheric effects". In the NZ and South Seas Ex Dunedin 1889-90, a group of watercolours by the "late Mr Gully" were shown as a special exhibit. Exhibited: Fine Arts Association Wellington 1883, NZ Academy of Fine Arts 1889, Melbourne International Ex 1880-81, Centennial Ex, Melbourne 1888-89.  Paintings included in Centennial Exhibition in Wellington1940. Represented extensively in Nelson's Bishop Suter art gallery, and Gully's paintings are in most gallery and library collections throughout NZ today.

Mickey to Tiki now available in two new sizes

Dick Frizzell with Mickey to Tiki
(Image via NZ Herald Photo: Greg Bowker)
With the closure of the Christchurch Art Gallery shop for at least two years the art gallery has given the exclusive right to reproduce several prints from their collection to Christchurch publisher Image Vault for the next three years.

This includes the right to reproduce NZ's top selling print of the last few years, Dick Frizzell's "Mickey to Tiki Tu Meke" (the story behind how this print originally came to be in the collection of Christchurch Art Gallery is here).  Because of this new arrangement we are now able to offer Mickey to Tiki in two new smaller sizes at lower price points (265 x 400mm at $49.50 and 365 x 550mm at $77.50).  Prints in the original size (735 x 480mm) are still available but we are not sure for how long at this stage.

Vintage "Fun Map of NZ" Re-printed

Fun Map of NZ (1950s vintage)
Today we listed for sale a reprint of an unusual vintage NZ map, the "Fun Map of New Zealand: Wonderland of the Pacific".  A New Zealand Government Tourism Department publication originally printed in the 1950s. Possibly designed by Stopford G. Wrathall, the map is credited to the Charles Haines(?) Advertising Agency Ltd, Wellington on the reverse.  When researching the provenance of this new image we found a picture of what we think was printed on the reverse of the map when it was first issued [NB: this is not reproduced on the reverse of the reprint for sale from today here at NZ Fine Prints], we have just reprinted the actual map.

It has taken some deciphering but here is a transcript of the text on the map's reverse side. Presumably the map was folded into a pamphlet sized handout to be given to tourists visiting NZ. Some spellings are Americanised, perhaps this was publicity destined for tourists from the North American market.

Fun Map of New Zealand

Life without humour would be a very dull business indeed. Some lucky people such as the late Mark Twain, Crosbie Garstin and others, found humour everywhere, and left a rich legacy behind them for the world's enjoyment.

There is therefore no need to offer apologies for the appearance of the "Fun Map of New Zealand", which, while making humourous reference to many historic and notable incidents in the Dominion's history, does so without malice and in a spirit of genuine light-heartedness.

Original text on reverse of the Fun Map
From the delightful representation of the "Three Kings" in the far north, all looking slightly "blue" as though feeling "just a little bit out of it", to the busy oyster-scoopers of Foveaux Strait, there is one big smile for owners of the "Fun Map".

New Zealanders should gain added enjoyment from visiting familiar places made more attractive still in the guise of humourous representation, while visitors from abroad will be enabled to invest the various localities and points of interest referred to, with an extra bright and cheerful atmosphere.

With the added attraction of humour, the wide variety of outstanding scenic and holiday resorts for which the Dominion is world famous,  will be brought more directly into focus, and the world at large will be the better able to realize [sic] that New Zealand's claim to being the "Scenic Playground of the Pacific" is indeed based on solid foundations.

A world in miniature Different, Varied, Unique

New Zealand is indeed a veritable world in miniature, for every imaginable natural wonder and scenic attraction appears to have been reproduced within the length and breadth of the Dominion. Towering mountain peaks, great glaciers, luxuriant sub-tropic forests, weird thermal regions, huge volcanic cones, magic caves, beautiful lakes and rivers, and majestic fiords, may all be found here in close proximity and in striking contrast to each other. In no case more than a day's journey from the main centres necessary to reach any of these resorts.

Free Travel Service

Tours Planned… Tickets and Booking for Transport and Accommodation
One of the principal duties of the New Zealand Government Tourism Depart is to afford all possible assistance to travellers. With a thorough knowledge of the conditions, the Service will, free of charge, plan itineraries, suitable to the needs and desires of the individual or party, make reservations for trains, steamers, motors, air travel and hotel accommodation. Officers of the Department meet in the stream all incoming passenger vessels.  The Department's officers, honourary representatives, and agencies overseas are available to support the work of the organization [sic] in the Dominion. 

A Playground of Unique Variety

New Zealand can offer a greater variety of attraction for the sporting enthusiast than any other portion of the globe. Shooting, fishing, mountain sports of all kinds, racing, golf, tennis, bowls, form but a few of the many healthful recreations which can be enjoyed in the Dominion practically all the year round.

Bountiful sunshine without the extremes of heat or cold makes the pursuit of sport a matter of keenest enjoyment and this is further enhanced by the provision of thoroughly up-to-date accommodation at all the leading health and holiday resorts established throughout the country. Full particulars and details covering every phase of activity including bookings, reservations, etc may be obtained from the New Zealand Government Tourism Department's Bureaux and Agency Offices throughout the world.  

We have the "Fun Map of New Zealand" for sale in both the map and vintage poster collections in our online gallery.  The re-print (NZ$69.95) is on photographic paper, it has been printed on a high quality inkjet printer using lightfast inks.